As teachers increasingly look to incorporate technology meaningfully into their classrooms and in their professional lives, web-based applications like Appear.In provide low cost solutions. Video conferencing may not seem like something relevant to most teachers, yet an infusion of creativity and a little organization, these kinds of applications can be useful not just for student-teacher interactions, but also student-student and teacher-teacher interactions.
Many people are familiar with both Skype and other kinds of videoconferencing platforms. However, many of those require downloads or have connectivity problems. Appear.In provides the option for a web-based platform that allows for greater flexibility for users. However, many teachers may be wondering how these can be effective in their classrooms.
Parent-Teacher Conversations: Face to face communication with parents is one of the most important steps to building an effective classroom community. Since many families consist of two working parents and many children attending aftercare, teacher ability to see parents regularly has dwindled. Moreover, many teachers feel uncomfortable sharing their personal telephone numbers with parents, and rightfully so. As such, the ability to create chat rooms or videoconferencing locations without having to create personal logins can provide teachers and parents with the anonymity to create professional distance while still offering a personalized face-to-face experience.
Student-Student Interactions: Back in the 1980’s, every kid learned the joys of pen-pals. Across the world, children communicated using pens, paper, and stamps to learn from others. In the modern digital age, these kinds of interactions seem antiquated and quaint. Students today want technology involved in their interpersonal interactions. Appear.In offers teachers the opportunity to interact with other classrooms while maintaining student privacy. When teachers find international classroom partners , they can easily connect with them to help foster a sense of community through face to face interactions.
Teacher-Student Extra Help: Appear.In not only offers video-conferencing but can also be used for vidcasts and podcasts. This means that teachers can offer extra help tutorials. As mentioned above, many students attend aftercare or other activities after school and many teachers are constrained by local budgets. For teachers who feel that their students could benefit from additional lessons, vidcasts might be useful tools to bridge the educational gap and also allow parents to be more engaged in their children’s education since they will also know what to do to help them succeed.
Teacher-Teacher Collaboration: As discussed previously, teachers lacking financial resources often turn to the internet to find new ideas and establish peer communities through Twitter chats. Appear.In offers an opportunity for teachers to take those kinds of internet connections and move them into a more personal space without compromising privacy. Since no account creations is necessary, teachers can connect with like-minded others that they meet through various forums and create their own collaborative communities. This allows teachers to share ideas without having to spend money on travel.
One of the best parts of Appear.In lies in that it not only provides a video-conferencing forum, but it also allows for chat interactions. With this feature, similar to other types of video-conferencing forums, those involved in the rooms can access messages and respond at their convenience. One of the clever features that distinguishes Appear.In from other types of chat forums is that it allows users to color code different speakers so that the conversation can be followed quickly and without confusion.
Overall, Appear.In can be a useful tool to help time-pressed educators connect with their students, students’ parents, and various communities.